For about three weeks now, California, the world's largest walnut-growing region after China, has been busy with the harvest.. But only after the walnuts have been dried and processed are they shipped to Europe. And in times of Corona, shipping is particularly difficult, says Jens Borchert, co-managing director of Palm Nuts & More Ltd & Co. The company, based in Buchholz represents, among others, the Californian Mariani Nut Company on the German market.
At the moment, the market situation can rather be described as "sluggish," according to Borchert. "It's hard to plan the procurement of goods because we don't know if and what volume will be shipped. Due to Corona, there are still too few ship departures, which is why schedules are constantly being changed." In addition, he said, they are struggling with increased freight rates that tend to fluctuate: before the Corona outbreak, container costs were around $2,500; currently, they are fluctuating around $3500 per individual container.
California walnut cultivation / Image: Palm Nuts & More
Shortage of goods around Christmas time
Nonetheless, the crop in the California growing region seems to be doing quite well. Borchert says, "Mostly good quality and nice, light-colored kernels are expected. Last week there was a little rain in California, but this nevertheless had little effect on the harvest of the nuts, according to our information." However, according to the more difficult circumstances in terms of logistics and sea freight, delays and bottlenecks should be expected, he said. "From December on, the Californian harvest arrives successively, but this year a shortage of goods at Christmas cannot be ruled out."
Joachim Alkewitz, Bernd Hofmeister and Jens Borchert at Fruit Logistica 2020. The Palm Nuts & More team will also be present at the next edition.
Until then, walnuts from Australia as well as Chile will be traded, supplemented by goods from Eastern Europe and France. "Californian walnuts have always been preferred in the German trade, followed by Chile as well as Australia, and in further place comes France," Borchert knows. Over the years, it has been possible to gradually extend the marketing window for Californian goods towards the back, he adds.
Walnuts in their shell are currently harvested by the ton.
Image: Palm Nuts & More
Lack of water supply shapes global nut crops
The in-shell walnut business is trending downward in favor of walnut kernels, he says. "Furthermore, lack of water supply, not only in California but elsewhere, continues to be a sensitive issue in the nut industry. This overarching trend will continue to be with us in the years ahead."
For more information:
PALM Nuts & More Nuss und Trockenfrucht GmbH & Co. KG
Joachim Alkewitz & Jens Borchert
Tel: +49 4181 9091 14